SpeechWorks Lectures to University of Toronto

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On April 23rd, S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks was proud to attend the University of Toronto to lecture to the graduate class of Speech-Language Pathology (class of 2015) in what would be the last lecture of their graduate education. Not only was it a privilege to share our clinical experiences, but it was a fantastic opportunity for the class to hear from two acquired brain injury survivors. The experience was rich for the students and even richer for us as clinicians to watch our clients shine in sharing their presentations! The clinician portion of the presentation was delivered by Bobi Tychynski Shimoda and Shanda Hunter-Trottier. The topic was Acquired Brain Injury Treatment.

A Story of Client Success

We were absolutely delighted to have two of our amazing clients presenting. The first hour of the lecture was the result of two months of preparation with our two clients, JW and BH. The duo spent weekly therapy sessions developing a presentation to share with the U of T class which included a description of the similarities and differences between each of their brain injury symptoms and the therapeutic strategies that have been most helpful to them.

This was an amazing feat for both of these client, and especially one, who reportedly fears speaking with unknown people, let alone speaking in front of 50 students! JW and BH spoke with poise and confidence and the entire class was captivated.

The project enabled the clients to work on communication confidence, verbal articulation and intonation, planning and organization, perspective taking, memory, and self-awareness. It was very meaningful to both clients and they were extremely excited after achieving success in the presentation. One client texted me that evening, “I feel really proud of myself”!

A Bright Future for the Speech-Language Pathology Profession

Once the class was warmed up and thoroughly engaged, we clinicians took over to speak about working within the motor vehicle accident sector and the insurance system. The class was extremely engaged and asked a variety of questions demonstrating their enthusiasm for the topic (thanks to JW and BH).

We are so pleased to have had a chance to connect with U of T’s class of S-LP students. These future clinicians were a bright bunch. We are certain that they will be assets to our profession.

BobiTychynskiShimoda-220Bobi Tychynski Shimoda is a Speech-Language Pathologist with more than a decade of experience working with neurological communication and swallowing disorders. She has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient rehab, acute care, community, and private practise. She is highly skilled in assessment, and innovative treatment approaches. 

What Effect Can Aging Have on Communication?

“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

–          Samuel Ullman

Everyone ages differently. And while there are countless good things that come with growing older, such as possessing greater life wisdom and experience, or having more time to pursue hobbies and interests, it is relatively common to experience some level of decline in certain areas. Skills such as memory and attention, that are associated with communication, are often affected. Alzheimer’s Disease is an example of a condition that is often associated with aging that can also lead to a decline in the ability to communicate.

Of course, the impact of aging can extend beyond the neurological and into the physical realm as well. Swallowing can be affected as the muscles involved with this process become less efficient. The loss of teeth or the acquisition of dentures may affect swallowing and can also impact speech.

Fortunately, there is help at hand for people experiencing these and other communication-related problems. Speech-Language Pathologists are trained to assess and treat communication difficulties, as well as swallowing challenges that may be associated with aging. At S.L. Hunter & Associates, the team works with people of all ages and at all stages of life to help them improve and overcome communication, swallowing and speech challenges. Early intervention is always best when a problem arises to address concerns and provide possible strategies. If you or someone you know is struggling to make themselves understood, consider calling a Speech-Language Pathologist in your area.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. They can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at www.slhunter.ca.

Common Causes of Acquired Brain Injury

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

– Helen Keller

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is damage to the brain that occurs after birth. It is not related to a developmental disability or congenital disorders (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder or Down syndrome), nor to diseases (such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease), which can progressively damage the brain.

A brain injury can happen suddenly. The most common causes of ABI today are motor vehicle accidents, strokes, falls, sports-related concussions, bicycle accidents and strangulation.

An ABI will impact each individual in different ways as there are so many skills governed by the human brain. Some may experience organization and planning difficulties for example, while others may have problems with attention or memory, or struggle to formulate their thoughts into words.

While it’s never good news when ABI occurs, there is the potential for improvement and to return to many daily life activities. Within the first two years after an injury, the human brain works hard to heal itself, so therapy during this time can be particularly beneficial. But even if therapy has been delayed beyond the two-year mark, improvement continues to be possible with the right strategies.

S.L. Hunter & Associates has an entire team of highly-skilled, duly qualified and caring Speech-Language Pathologists and Communicative Disorders Assistants who are trained to help people with ABI. They provide assessment and intervention sessions – in a variety of settings – tailored to the needs of each client.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. They can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at www.slhunter.ca.

Speech-Language Pathology as a Career – What Does it Take?

Information Processing and Reading

One out of every ten Canadians lives with a serious communication disorder. But they don’t have to go it alone. Speech-Language Pathologists are highly trained professionals who work with people of all ages to diagnose and treat a wide variety of speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties.

Nine Canadian universities offer the specialized training required for a career in Speech-Language Pathologists at the Master’s level. Through studies in such areas as counseling, anatomy, linguistics and voice disorders, students acquire the knowledge and experience to help children and adults regain or develop successful communication.

If you like people, enjoy language and health sciences, as well as possess a pleasant, adaptable and patient demeanor, then a career in Speech-Language Pathologists could be for you! In addition to four years of undergraduate studies (centering on courses in psychology, physiology, linguistics, education and health sciences), a two-year Master’s level program with clinical practicum completes the training.

Today’s Speech-Language Pathologists find work in private practice, hospitals, schools, research centres, daycare centres and more.

The rewards of such a career are many; the opportunity to meet and help people is deeply satisfying, no two clients are ever the same and the privilege of walking alongside another individual – cheering them on to success – enriches the life and experience of the communication professional.

At S.L. Hunter & Associates, we’re committed to our clients and make every effort to match them to clinicians to ensure rapport builds quickly. If you or someone you know would like more information about a career in Speech-Language Pathologists, or to book an assessment, call us.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. We can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at www.slhunter.ca.

How speech-language pathologists can help with aphasia

Individuals that have difficulty with being able to express themselves through speech, being able to understand what is being said to them, or with reading and writing could be diagnosed with a condition called Aphasia.

Aphasia is a symptom of a type of brain damage that may have occurred as a result of a stroke, infection, dementia or head trauma. The severity of the symptoms will depend on the area of the brain that has been damaged and to what extent.

The successful treatment of aphasia takes teamwork between many different medical professionals, the patient and their family. Included in this team is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) who plays an important role in determining the type and severity of aphasia from which the patient is suffering.

Figuring out the type of aphasia is achieved by the SLP assessing various levels of communication. The patient will be evaluated on their speech capabilities, level of understanding, ability to express themselves, social interaction and reading and writing capabilities. In addition to this, it may include evaluation of swallowing capabilities.

Once the assessment is complete, the SLP can then design a treatment plan that will be most beneficial for that client’s particular needs. Individuals that are suffering from this problem can take heart in knowing that there are many steps that can be taken during the course of treatment to create an improvement in the areas identified.

SL Hunter conducts a comprehensive evaluation of clients who are displaying symptoms of Aphasia. If you or a loved one has any symptoms of aphasia, we can help.

The offices of S.L. Hunter & Associates are located at 5195 Harvester Rd. Unit 4B. We can be reached by telephone at 905-637-5522 or online at www.slhunter.ca.